A colocation data centre is a type of managed facility that allows organisations to lease the space they need, normally within a dedicated rack or cabinet or within a separate and defined cage. The major difference between colocation and a model of outsourcing to a wholesale data centre is that with wholesale the tenant leases an entire fully built data centre, whereas when colocation is used the client leases a smaller area of space with connectivity, engineering services, security, cooling and power (preferably UPS such as power provided by Source UPS) to meet their individual needs. Why can't I just keep my kit on-site? There isn't anything wrong with keeping kit inside your own dedicated facility or on site. However, as an organisation draws on more computer power and has increased demands for more flexible capacity and resilient connectivity, providing the right type of data centre environment starts to become increasingly complex and therefore more expensive as well. Building, managing, and maintaining an in-house data centre requires a lot of resources both in terms of IT and CapEx. On a more practical level, it also may use up critical office space and generate noise levels that are unacceptable. Why would I want to change the existing arrangements that I have and use a colocation facility instead? Many organisations reach the point where it is not justifiable any longer to invest the effort and risk that is needed to build and then maintain their own in-house data centre. The consideration for outsourcing is often triggered by change - maybe reviewing the current IT delivery model, or perhaps something that is not directly linked to IT such as an acquisition or merger, an office move, a reallocation of costs or growth that is exerting pressure on office space. Are the same services offered by all colocation providers? Although the majority of providers might appear to offer all of the same services - cooling, connectivity, resilience and security - a closer look will reveal some important distinctions between providers. The difference between what they may claim and what you actually receive can make a huge difference to your business. What should I be looking for? Location - Is access easy for you but difficult for intruders? Resilience - Evaluate the level of resilience that is needed by your business and the what level has been built into the data centre design, processes and structure. Security - Consider the actual data centre site, the operational diligence of the operator and its access controls. Power - What about its energy efficiency? Data centres consume significant amounts of energy and that can be a concern both in terms of running costs and environmental responsibility. Connectivity - Having real cloud and connectivity options can help you choose the best combination of services for costs and resilience. Services - What types of services are available to support your business? If anything goes wrong, who can you contact? There are some providers that operate the way that a property company does, with revenue based on leased space, while others operate dark sites with sky-high, out-of-hours costs, and still others like Datum provide fully serviced colocation where client satisfaction is critical to success. Site visits and accreditation - Don't simply assume that the provider does what they claim to do - check third party, official accreditation, visit the site and dig into the way they operate and how the site's security and resilience are maintained. Business growth and flexibility - Are you tied into a fixed contract by the provider that is based on space or will you be able to grow and flex based on your power usage? Can it provide you with access to specialist service providers and a supporting ecosystem with relevant direct connections that can help to ensure that you have the necessary support when you need it for transition, growth and operation? Colocation can potentially provide you with exactly what you need for a hybrid IT setup that supports your business both effectively and at a reasonable cost. To be successful, the key lies in being able to build a trusted relationship with your colocation provider who is able and willing to work with you to fully support your business, both now and into the future.